A marriage partner cannot meet all of your emotional needs or give your life purpose. With this in mind, some married individuals really need to learn how to handle unrequited love in their marriage, which can result from poor communication or emotional defense mechanisms.
1. BE Courageous
If you are feeling disconnected from each other, start taking it up a notch on your own. Show your passion. It’s kind of scary at first. It’s easy to feel a bit silly often, and it’s very difficult to put yourself out there so vulnerably. But don’t give up. Show your spouse that your marriage is important to you and do whatever that takes.
2. Keeping score is for sports, not marriages.
Time to get real! We often say that in marriage, each partner should not just be giving 50-50, but 100-100. But–let’s face it–sometimes marriage isn’t always exactly equal. Amazing beyond words? Absolutely. Fair? Not always. If you are dwelling too much on the “perfectly equal marriage,” and why you don’t have it, it will not get any better. If you want to make your marriage work, you need to do everything you can to improve your relationship without “keeping score.”
As you go about serving your spouse, don’t focus on what you “should get” in return. Keeping in line with #2, we don’t want to keep score here. It takes a lot of selflessnesses, and you have to completely push your pride aside–but it may surprise you at the result.
4. Understand that it’s most likely not you.
Unrequited love in marriage hurts the most, but one person usually is “relationally challenged.” They aren’t rejecting you personally, they are just doing what they’ve seen in other relationships, as they typically haven’t had positive examples for relationships in their lives.
5. Stay constructive.
It’s just all-too-easy in marriage to fall into habits. Bad habits. Habits that might just hinder your marriage. If the other person is the “leader” or “developer” of these bad habits, respectfully don’t follow suit. Stand up for yourself and for your relationship.
Marriages take work, especially in the relationships that feel one-sided. If you don’t like where you see your marriage going in the future based on your current habits, it’s high-time to invest in some influential books and programs if you haven’t been already. It may be difficult to initially lay that time and cash aside, but if you want your marriage to not only work but thrive, it’s essential.
7. You need to control yourself.
Instead of focusing on what your spouse is not doing, focus on what you can do. If your spouse doesn’t want to see a counselor, you can go alone. If you want your marriage to be happier, make it happier–even if you are the only one who seems interested in investing at first. Of course, ideally, you want two people working together, but it only takes one person for improvements to potentially be seen.
8. Own up.
Try to have a clear, concise conversation with your partner about what you’d like to get out of your marriage. In this conversation, it would be so easy to place the blame entirely on the “relationally challenged” one. My friend, please avoid that. No one likes to feel worthless, and like everything is their fault. It won’t help much.
9. Make it a Win-Win relationship.
Think of your best friend–whether they’re from your childhood, teen years, or now. Why is (or was) that relationship so good? Probably because things felt relatively equal. It was a Win-Win relationship.
10. Decide your priorities.
Pick your battles. Decide what is most important to you in your relationship right now. Is it attending counseling? Not enough quality time together? What do you want to fight for? You can’t do it all at once–you can’t fix all the problems in your marriage in one fell swoop. BUT–you can break them down, one at a time. Decide your top priority to solve in the next few months.